Dare I say that Chef Deborah VanTrece is my Rizzoli soul sister?! Well heck, I am going to say it. I am so excited for the latest Rizzoli NY cookbook from a local Atlanta chef. This cookbook is not only a visual treat, but it is also an amazing collection of recipes that infuse Deborah’s vast travel culinary experiences and her Southern soul. Her restaurant, The Twisted House Cookhouse and Pours is a landmark in the community. I was excited to meet her in person at her cookbook photo-shoot in Atlanta last January. We share the same Rizzoli NY cookbook editor, which makes us sisters for sure, right? I was invited to meet her and appear in her cookbook while enjoying a meal. Needless to say, trying a multitude of her recipes all in one sitting was a treat.
My 5 questions for Deborah:
Do you have a favorite recipe in the book?
There’s no particular recipe I favor more than another in this book. Each recipe has a personal meaning to me.
Tell me a bit about the inspiration for the book, and the recipe.
This book is inspired by the great soul food cooks of the past and present. It expounds on old traditions by exploring new combinations of ingredients by interchanging cultures and techniques. It is intended to uplift the idea of “comfort food” across all cultures and showcase the impact of the humblest cuisines in our souls and our hearts.
When did cooking become a passion and then a profession? Was this your path, or was it different?
As far back as I can remember, I have always been intrigued by food and the fellowship around it. Being an only child, sometimes I felt so alone. It was always celebrations, that included food and drink, that erased my feelings of loneliness and created an atmosphere of joy that I wanted to last forever. Because of this, I developed a passion for cooking, often sharing my creations with friends and family. I became an international flight attendant, and the exposure to other cultures only increased my hunger for learning how to create new dishes. I finally enrolled in culinary school and my professional journey in the food world began.
How have you been able to pivot your restaurant during Covid?
My pivots with Covid are an entire book within itself. I have adjusted my business model several times to keep in line with safety protocols, as well as government mandates. It hasn’t been easy, but we are still standing, and for that, I am grateful.
Who most influenced you in your cooking?
My family has been most influential in my cooking. From my mother and father to my aunts, uncles and cousins, they have all helped in constructing my culinary foundation. Good food is a part of my history and recipes handed down through generations are so important to my story. These recipes showcase the existence of my ancestors and motivate me to continue the story by adding recipes of my own.
Thanks so much, Deborah! xx
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